Transgender individuals are all too often misunderstood, and consequently misrepresented, in the media. Even when coverage is positive and accurate, stories about transgender men and women often focus inappropriately on physical and medical aspects of the transition process rather than the stories of the individuals themselves.
This sensationalizes and dehumanizes the subject of the story, causing them to often be perceived as a scientific case study and downplaying their actual feelings and experience.
Chaz Bono, the only child of Cher and Sonny Bono, was recently interviewed on HLN's The Joy Behar Show, discussing his critically acclaimed documentary "Becoming Chaz" and book titled Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man. Joy Behar took a strong interest in asking Chaz about his early life and relationship with his parents growing up, thereby tapping into the human elements of his story. Joy was receptive to his answers, and allowed the narrative of Chaz's life to progress from his childhood to the conscious realization that he was transgender, and the subsequent impact of that realization on his life. She was sensitive in her interview approach and gave Chaz the opportunity to talk about his personal experience and how it compares to that of others who have transitioned, without ever taking the human elements out of his story.
By asking questions about how Chaz's transition has affected him personally, Joy was respectful and ensured his story remained personal and humanized. She showed video clips and an array of photos spanning Chaz's life as he detailed his personal narrative. Overall, Joy did an excellent job of facilitating Chaz's discussion of his experiences, and GLAAD applauds The Joy Behar Show and HNL for an extremely well-done portrayal of a sensitive topic.
A full video of the interview is available here.